The New York Police Department (NYPD) is investigating a series of attacks targeting Jews in Brooklyn, and one Jewish advocacy group has found what it calls surprisingly high numbers of American adherents of the Hebrew faith fearing anti-Semitism in the United States.
"They're playing a game: 'knockout.' 'Knock out the Jew,' maybe," Brooklyn Rabbi Yaacov Behrman told CBS Local News. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly estimated a total of eight attacks since September, and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) released a poll this week finding 81 percent of American Jews consider anti-Semitism a problem in the U.S.
North Korea has reportedly executed 80 prisoners across several cities, some for offenses like possessing a Bible, with a human rights group calling the executions a sign that the regime of Kim Jong-un is increasingly fearful of its own people.
"These executions are a reflection of two things at work: First, unlike his father, Kim Jong-Il, Kim Jong Eun has had to work aggressively to consolidate power once his father died. Remember that Kim Il Song had prepared for the transition to his son, Kim Jong-il and he was already in major leadership roles when Kim Il Song died," Suzanne Scholte, president of human rights group Defense Forum Foundation, said in an email to The Christian Post on Tuesday.
"Second, this is a reflection of a regime that is increasingly fearful of its own people and has to send a powerful, brutal message by doing high profile public executions. We have certainly seen these public executions used in the past by Kim Jong Il." more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini has been denied medication and blankets his father tried to give him in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, with prison officials saying the U.S. citizen is not allowed to have any personal belongings. The update follows reports that the prison is severely overcrowded, leading to "deadly and inhuman" conditions.
"Saeed's health had been improving with his medication in Evin prison, but with horrendous conditions in Rajai Shahr and the lack of proper medication, Saeed's health will likely deteriorate quickly," wrote Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), in an update on Monday on the pastor's condition.
The ACLJ, which represents the pastor's wife and two children in the U.S., reported that Abedini had been moved from Evin prison to Rajai Shahr last week, though an explanation for this sudden change has not been provided. An international campaign backed by a number of U.S. political leaders, including President Barack Obama, has called for the pastor's release, but so far Iranian authorities have refused to release him or reduce his eight-year sentence. more >>
A Christian North Korean missionary group dropped 50,000 balloons carrying Bibles and religious tracts into the heavily persecuted North Korea last year.
"Every time we fill up one of these balloons, we hold it and we pray together in English, North Korean and South Korean," Eric Foley, the co-founder and CEO of Seoul USA told Fox News. "We pray loudly and always with tears."
The sophisticated handmade balloons, created from "farm plastic," pumped with hydrogen, filled with New Testaments and stories of faith from North Korean believers, are guided by timers and GPS technology that determine when and where the balloons are dropped. more >>
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said that religious freedom concerns in America pale in comparison to the severe persecution Christians experience throughout the world in his final address as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Monday.
"Brother bishops, our legitimate and ongoing struggles to protect our 'first and most cherished freedom' in the United States pale in comparison to the Via Crucis currently being walked by so many of our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, who are experiencing lethal persecution on a scale that defies belief," Dolan said in his final address to the USCCB General Assembly in Baltimore.
"If our common membership in the mystical body of Christ is to mean anything, then their suffering must be ours as well." more >>
Frustrated by their seeming lack of efficacy in creating a more moderate Egyptian constitution, Coptic Christians have threatened to walk out on a committee charged with creating the new document.
Thus far, Egypt's Al-Nour party, which has been given one seat on the 50-person constitutional panel, has lobbied for an article defining Shariah law.
Despite Al-Nour's minority voice and the fact that secularists and liberals make up much higher numbers than the radical group on the panel, Christians do not believe that any progress will be made if the party is present. more >>